I have always loved peonies – those fragrant and generous blooms! This painting is on linen instead of the smooth gessoed panels I usually use. I do love the subtle texture of linen. Maybe that was why, but the painting came together more easily than usual.
Here is Tom’s evocative and powerful poem for these peonies.
Standing stems bear waving flags
of armies conquering the sky
with a joy that never sags
charging forth to do or die
in defense of beauty wild
against the mud that’s ranked and filed
upon the ugly battlefield
where the flowers will not yield
to cold order, hate’s command
that all that lives conform or lose,
bright peonies will dance and choose
to hold their ground and make their stand.
In all the universe so cold
It’s only this we have to hold.
I have started up oil painting again – yay! I have done three very small (6″x6″) paintings for an online painting course – Once Upon a Time in Provence with Dreama Perry. I can’t recommend her courses enough – so much inspiration! I will not be posting the paintings I am doing as part of the course and following her instructional videos as they are her copyrighted material in terms of composition, method etc. However, as I go along, I will post other pieces I am doing.
This is a 9×12 oil on gesso board of two peonies in a blue jar using the alla prima method where oil paint is layered wet on wet in a single session. Here the challenges I was focused on were painting the white peony using a subtle variety of colours for the shadows and getting a pleasing effect of transparency and shine for the glass jar.
Tom’s poem to go with this one is a little melancholy but reminds us to see beauty and love life in the moment.
so pretty on the table in the sun
warming up the lonely room with colour
pushing back the shadows and the dun
dreary dullness in the days of dolour
a bright reminder of more happy times
living beauty grown in fertile soil
giving pleasure as the churchbell chimes
calling mourners all to gentle toil
remembering the layered past beyond
this circled sadness of the present instant
skipping stones across a summer pond
listening to the loon in purple distance
a momentary beauty still in life
bringing solace in the midst of strife
painting (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 Tom Radcliffe